Saudi Arabia Government plans yet another expansion of the
Grand Mosque in Makkah
which is expected t accommodate an
additional 1.2 million more hajis after completion.
According to a media report, Saudi King Abdullah will lay the
foundation stone for a new expansion of the Haram on Friday.
“The new project, named the King
Abdullah Expansion, will be carried out using the most advanced
mechanical and electrical systems,” Arab News quoted Muhammad Al-Khozaim,
vice president of the Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques Affairs.
“Once completed, the new facility
will be able to accommodate nearly 1.2 million worshippers,” he
The new expansion will also have
basic facilities including modern garbage disposal systems and
security monitoring systems. Sunshades will also be established on
the northern courtyards of the mosque. The new annex will be
linked with the existing mosque and masaa with a series of
bridges. It will also provided with air conditioning systems and
Al-Khozaim disclosed plans to expand
the mataf (the circumambulation areas around the Holy Kaaba) and
provide air-conditioning for all parts of the Grand Mosque, adding
that the two projects would be carried out shortly along with the
new Haram expansion project.
Speaking about other projects
implemented at the directives of King Abdullah, he said the newly
expanded masaa (the running course between Safa and Marwa) could
now accommodate 118,000 pilgrims per hour instead of 44,000.
He described the King Abdul Aziz
Endowment Towers as one of the largest real estate projects in
Makkah. It comprises six residential towers and a five-star hotel.
The frontal towers are 28 stories high while the rear ones are 35
stories. Side towers are 45 stories while the hotel tower is 60
stories. The entire complex with 11,000 rooms and suites can
accommodate 35,000 pilgrims.
Al-Khozaim commended the king for
taking the initiative to implement a number of vital projects for
the welfare of pilgrims. They include the Mashair Railway
connecting Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah, the Haramain Railway to
link the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, the Jamrat bridge
complex, the Central Zone Development project, the King Abdul Aziz
Road, new ring roads in addition to flood drainage projects in the
The Jamrat Bridge project, which was
carried out at a cost of SR4.5 billion, was instrumental in
preventing stampedes during the stoning ritual. It is designed to
accommodate 5 million pilgrims. The Mashair Railway will become
fully operational before the upcoming Haj in November. The metro
service will operate 17 trains with 12 coaches in each train. A
train will carry 3,000 pilgrims.